Monday, December 06, 2010

"Progressive nonsense"

It seems I was justified in treating the Blond-style pwoggy Toryism as of little ideological moment as far as Conservative Party policy is concerned. As I claimed:

"Of course, Cameron has no intention of making good on Blond’s progressive medievalism. Blond, in seeking the patronage of the Cameronites, has offered them one means by which to affect that strategic capture of the language of progress that I mentioned earlier. The idea that Cameron would break up the large enterprises that are supporting his election, expropriate the people who are funding his campaign (not to mention his friends and members of his shadow cabinet), or otherwise ‘Progress’ fundamentally attack the class structure in Britain is fantastical. The issue underlying these ideological torsions, which is not discussed in polite company, is the neoliberal state – or, the “competition state”, as Mark Evans has dubbed it.

Evans claims, correctly in my view, that Brown’s current use of Keynesian demand management and stimulus is no more than a transitory form of crisis management, and does not signal a paradigm shift. A neoliberalism with a tighter regulatory regime and a much diminished welfare state and public sector is far more likely in the future. The processes that have been ‘hollowing-out’ the state, depriving it of democratic capacity by devolving ministerial powers to unelected agencies or privatised entities, or to unelected EU bodies, will continue largely as a result of this underlying neoliberal commitment. That the Tories’ proposals to further erode representative democracy should themselves be expounded in the vernacular of democratic renewal reflects sensitivity on this issue. The Tories are aware, as Westminster’s mandarins are also aware, that the undermining of the state’s representative capacity is producing a severe decline in the public’s faith in, and thus the legitimacy of, the state. Their only logical way of handling this is to try to persuade the public that this undermining of democracy is precisely the kind of democratisation that they really want.

And for the Tories to do this credibly, they can’t do it as open Thatcherites. Hence, the need to find a ‘progressive’ idiom; hence the hopey-changey, touchy-feely, happy-clappy Sunday school rhetoric; and hence the painfully inept attempt by Cameron – and now also by Nick Clegg – at a kind of ‘Stars in Their Eyes’ Obama impersonation." (The Meaning of David Cameron, pp. 77-78)

The right-wing blogger Guido Fawkes is delighted to reveal that top Tory bosses thought it was all just "progressive nonsense" for the campaign trail. But why bother waiting for bloggers to spell out what an inexpensive book will tell you upfront? Do yourself a favour and buy your mum a copy of The Meaning of David Cameron this Christmas.